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University of Illinois Extension

Freezing Fruits & Vegetables

Freezing Fruits

  1. Wash and drain all fruits before removing cores, pits, seeds, skins, etc. Wash small amounts at a time through several changes of cold water. Do not let the fruits soak.
  2. Prepare each fruit as directed. See National Center for Home Food Preservation. When preparing fruit, do not use galvanized, copper or iron equipment; the acid in the fruit could react with the metals forming harmful compounds and off-flavors.
  3. Determine type of pack, using appropriate headspace:
  4. Sweetened
    Unsweetened
    1. Sugar pack: sprinkle sugar over fruit and mix gently. Let stand 15 minutes. Good for soft, sliced fruits. 1. Water-freeze in water or unsweetened juice. (Freezes harder; takes longer to thaw; mushy texture.)
    2. Syrup pack: cover fruits in a syrup. See table and directions below. May place crumpled water-resistant paper on top of the fruit and press down. 2. Dry pack: freeze on tray and pack into containers or packages. Good for small whole fruits, such as berries.
    3. Pectin pack: mix 1 package powdered pectin and 1 cup water. Boil for 1 minute. Cool and add 1 ¾ cups more water. Good for strawberries and peaches.
    Syrup Pack
    Type
    % Syrup Cups of Sugar Cups of Water Yield of Syrup
    Very Light 10% ½ 4 4½ cups
    Light 20% 1 4 4¾ cups
    Medium 30% 1¾ cups 4 5 cups
    *Heavy 40% 4 5⅓ cups
    Very Heavy 50% 4 4 6 cups

    *Heavy syrup is recommended for most fruits. Lighter syrups are best for mild-flavored fruits, such as figs or melon, to prevent masking of flavors. Heavier syrup for sour fruits, like sour cherries or cranberries.

    Directions: Dissolve sugar in cold or hot water. If hot water is used, cool syrup before using. Syrup may be made the day before and kept covered in the refrigerator. Up to one-fourth of the sugar may be replaced, amount for amount, with corn syrup or honey.

  5. Prevent discoloration, if needed. (Citric acid and lemon juice are not as effective)
    • Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in powdered form. Use 1 teaspoon (3000 mg) to one-gallon cool water.
    • Commercial ascorbic acid mixture. Follow the manufacturer's directions for use.
  6. Label appropriately for a cottage food operation.
  7. Freeze at 0°F or below for 8-12 months for best quality.

Box Fruit 1

Picture: National Center for Home food Preservation Gallery

Freezing Vegetables

  1. Wash and drain all vegetables before peeling or chopping. Wash small amounts at a time through several changes of cold water. Do not let the vegetables soak.
  2. Prepare each vegetable as directed. See National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  3. Blanch vegetables, following appropriate blanching times. See University of Minnesota Extension for blanching times. Blanching: scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time.
    • Water blanching- may use a blanching basket and lid. Use 1 gallon of water per pound of prepared vegetables. Put the vegetables in the basket and lower into vigorously boiling water. Cover with lid. The water should return to boil within 1 minute (if not, you may be using too much vegetables per water). Once it returns to a full boil, set timer for appropriate time.
    • Steam blanching: may use a pot with a tight lid and basket, holding foods at least 3-inches above the bottom of the pot. Put 1-2 inches of water in the pot and bring to a boil. Put the vegetables in the basket in a single layer. Cover with lid. Start timer as soon as the lid is on. Note: blanching via microwave may not be effective.
  4. After blanching, cool quickly by plunging the basket of vegetables in cold ice water, 60°F or below. Cooling should take the same amount of time as blanching. Drain vegetables thoroughly.
  5. Pack vegetables by either dry-pack or tray-pack. Use appropriate headspace.
    • Dry-pack- pack vegetables tightly into appropriate containers or freezer bags. Press out air and seal tightly.
    • Tray-pack- put a single layer of the vegetables on a shallow pan and put the pan into the freezer. As soon as the vegetables are frozen, put them into a freezer bag or container. Press out air and seal tightly.
  6. Label appropriately for a cottage food operation.
  7. Freeze at 0°F or below for 8-12 months for best quality.

Veg Blanncher2

Blueberries Tray

Pictures: National Center for Home food Preservation Gallery